This CV format is the most common layout used by UK job seekers.

It is a straightforward design that clearly lists your personal details, work experience, skills qualifications in reverse chronological order. Also known as a reverse chronological CV, performance CV or traditional CV, it gives an account of your career path by displaying your most recent employment history and achievements first.

Popular with both experienced professionals and people just starting out, it is suitable to apply for any job role. Recruiters also like it because they are familiar with its structure and find it easy to scan. Indeed, many consider it to be the default CV layout and expect to receive it.

On this page we will define what a Chronological CV is and show you how to use it to present yourself to hiring managers and secure a job interview. We will answer frequently asked questions, give you valuable tips and provide you with examples you can use as guides.

By: Iejaz Uddin – 9 June 2024


Page overview:

  • What is a Chronological CV
  • Writing a Chronological CV
  • Structure of a Chronological CV
  • Contact details
  • Personal summary
  • Work experience
  • Skills for a Chronological CV
  • Education


What is a Chronological CV

The word Chronological comes from the ancient Greek word chronos’ which means ‘time’ and ‘logy’ which equates to ‘study’ or ‘account of’.

There are many different ways of formatting a CV, but the traditional Chronological layout is the mostly widely used. At its most basic it’s a one or two page format that lists your current and previous positions in date order. This allows hiring manager to easily view your most recent experiences and understand your career progression and advancement over the years. This is important, because recruiters typically spend just seconds looking at your CV, meaning you’ve got to quickly present them with the information they want.

The format covers every CV section, such as contact information, persona summary, work experience, education and skills. Making it perfect for organising and presenting your career history on an employer-by-employer basis.

It’s popular with both job seekers because it quickly paints a picture of them as an applicant. It’s versatile and can be used for any sector or field.


Suitable for any role

It can be used to apply for any job application but works particularly well with people who have extensive work experience, academic qualifications or expertise. Suitable for any industry, be it IT, sales, construction or administration etc.


Chronological CV example


Chronological CV example


Advantages of a Chronological CV

Best suited for people with long stable careers.

It works well because it quickly highlights relevant information, experience and skills that have been acquired in prior positions. Not only that, it also showcases a candidates career progression, stability, and growth.

By allowing an applicant to arrange their most relevant and impressive accomplishments at the beginning of every section, it maximizes their chances of getting noticed. This enables them to prominently display those competencies that the employer is looking. Another advantage it has is its versatility and the easy with which it can be adapted to an individual’s level of experience.

  • If you have stayed in the same industry throughout your career and want to remain there then it’s ideal, as you can show any progression and promotions you’ve achieved.
  • Reinforces a candidate’s expertise, credibility, and consistency in their chosen field.
  • Can be used to apply for different roles in various industries and occupations.
  • Allows you to highlight years of continued work in the same field.
  • Recruiters are familiar with its linear timeline structure and can quickly process information from it.
  • Easy for hiring managers to identify your career milestones.
  • Demonstrates stability and consistency in your career.



Those who work hard will always be rewarded.

A chronological CV is great way of showing promotions in your career, and progression from entry-level positions to more senior roles. To a prospective employer, this indicates commitment to your professional growth as well as displaying loyalty and commitment to an employer. Hiring managers want staff who have performed well in your current role and can take on more responsibility. A chronological CV to show them this.


Disadvantages of a Chronological CV

As it is more focused on consistency, past performance and achievements, it may not be ideal for everyone.

It’s not the best format if you’ve held a number of short-term jobs in different industries and with various employers. For instance, if you have worked in the retail sector then got a job in an office and then found employment in a factory. This may look like job hopping to a prospective employer and may led them to think you may not hang around for too long.

  • If you have career gaps which you would rather not discuss, this layout will make them obvious and easy to spot.
  • Not ideal for people who have changed their career regularly.
  • Conceals minor work jobs and those in the distant past.
  • It has a linear and structured format that limits creativity, customization and flexibility.
  • May not highlight your skills as much as you may like.


Writing a Chronological CV

What you write in your CV tells a prospective employer everything about you. To create a CV that optimises your personal brand it’s important to follow some best practices and tips.

The chronological format has a pretty simple structure, in that it put your current or most relevant work experience or academic achievements first. You pay more attention to what you have been doing recently, and less to what you have done in the past. An employer wants to know what you have been doing in the last 2 years not 8 years ago.

A chronological CV is typically split into the following separate sections, all of them are arranged by date order:

  • Contact details
  • Personal summary
  • Work experience
  • Skills
  • Educational


Target it at the vacancy

To maximise its effectiveness, it should be targeted at the job you are apply for. This way you multiply your chances of getting noticed by the employer.

Doing all of this is not as hard as it seems. Everything you need for this is in the job description of the role you want.

  1. Start by reading the job advert and making a list of all the experiences and skills the employer wants in a candidate. These are usually given via descriptive keywords and phrases.
  2. Then carefully go through your career to identify which of these you have.
  3. Write a CV that matches your competencies with the requirements of the role.


Save space

If you have extensive work experience, then to save time you can describe your earlier positions in less detail.


Use short punchy sentences

Save space and make your CV more readable by saying everything with fewer words. Remember that hiring managers are busy people and appreciate a CV that makes their job easier by getting straight to the point.


Keep it organised

Layout out your content in a clear and structured manner so that it only takes a glance to get an idea of your professional situation.


Structure of a Chronological CV

Writing a CV is never an easy task, but it can be easier if you have a structure to follow. That’s what this format does, it gives you a proven readymade design that you just need to fill in. Below is a list of the main sections.


Contact details

Recruiters need your contact details to request follow-up information or book an interview. They want a name to identify your CV with. This is where you give your full name and professional title, address, email, phone number and LinkedIn profile (optional). There is no need to include a photo of yourself unless it has been explicitly asked for by the recruiter.

It’s advisable and acceptable to use a slightly larger font size for this text, than used for the rest of the page.


Personal summary

Begin your CV with a concise introductory statement that outlines who you are, what you can do for a company and your career goals and ambitions.

Your aim is to firstly attract the reader’s attention and secondly encourage further reading of your CV.

In a short paragraph of no more than 3 to 4 sentences outline your strengths, shout about your achievements, and mention your aspirations. Focus on what sets you apart from others and why you are unique. Do not repeat what you’ve already written in your cover letter or other sections of your CV.


Work experience

Your work history is at the core of your CV, that’s because it contains if your employment history, something employers are very interested in.

After a personal summary, it’s the second most visited section on it. It enables hiring managers to understand your professional trajectory and see your increasing levels of responsibility and expertise over time.

Write a detailed account of your job history in a way that allows the reader to quickly track your development. Aim to link your previous duties to the experience required for the current vacancy. Do this by giving a concise description of your most relevant duties, responsibilities and achievements in each role you’ve had. This way you’ll demonstrate your future value and potential contributions to prospective employers.

Don’t just say what you did, also tell them how well you did it. Try to back up your claims of accomplishments by percentages and figures.


A basic work experience layout will include:

  • Job title
  • Employers name
  • Location
  • Dates of employment
  • Between two and six bullet points that briefly explain your duties.


Skills for a Chronological CV

Following on from your career history, this is where you list your job-related key skills. Through no more than 6 bullet pointed sentences give details of those hard and soft skills that are necessary to perform the job. Written properly it allows employers to quickly assess your abilities and further reinforce your suitability for the position.



This is the final main section of your CV, where you should list your academic qualifications, accreditations and certifications. It’s typically placed below the work experience section, and provides details of your degrees, A levels, GCSEs, Diplomas and coursework.

There is no need to list everything you did from primary school, instead focus on the most recent and those that are relevant to the role.

When describing your training and academic qualifications again start with the latest first. You only need to give details of the school, college and university name, along with the qualifications gained and dates of attendance.

Related: How to write your education on a CV